ISO 639-1

Håvard Hjulstad
Thu, 16 May 2002 11:04:56 +0200

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that ISO 639-1 (Codes for the representation of
names of languages -- Part 1: Alpha-2 code) has been approved. The FDIS
ballot received 22 positive ballots (19 from TC 37 P members, 1 from an O
member (Cuba), and 2 from non-members (Belarus and Egypt)). There were no
negative votes and one abstention (Ukraine). Two P members did not vote
(Iran and Ireland).

SC2 secretariat and I have already submitted to ISO Central Secretariat some
corrections for the final editing. I send this email also to the CS as a
confirmation that there will be no further corrections.

For the information of members and experts, the IS document will have the
following changes compared with the FDIS document:

(1) A "replacement notice" will be added to express explicitly that ISO
639-1:2002 replaces ISO 639:1988, which is then no longer a valid
International Standard.

(2) In clauses 4.2 and A.1 the address of the Registration Authority will be

(3) In clause 5 there was an error in the FDIS document. The text suggested
implicitly that there may be occurrences of multple alpha-2 identifiers for
the same language. This is of course incorrect. The FDIS text refers to
"Table 1, 2, 3, and 4". The correct text shall make reference to "Table 1,
2, and 3" only.

(4) In clause A.2.1 there is an incorrect cross-reference.

(5) In clause A.3.1.1 a sentence has been duplicated.

(6) In Annex B the following three items that were actually included in the
alpha-2 list in 1989, will be included in the table:
iu     Inuktitut     inuktitut     (after “ig”)
ug     Uigur     ouïgour     (after “ty”)
za     Zhuang; Chuang     zhuang; chuang     (after “ve”)

(7) Two languages have been approved since the submission of the FDIS
document. They will be included in all tables:
Ido     ido     Ido     io
Walloon     wallon     wallon     wa

As you will understand, any paper publication of the language codes will be
a mere "snapshot". ISO 639-1 is up to date as per today. However, there are
already new proposals on the table for additional language identifiers. At
the time of printing ISO 639-1 may already be "outdated". If you don't find
a language in the printed version, please consult the tables on the web site
of the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee:

Best regards,
Håvard Hjulstad
(convener of ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1; project editor of ISO 639-1)

Håvard Hjulstad
  Solfallsveien 31
  NO-1430  Ås, Norway
  tel: +47-64944233  &  +47-64963684
  mob: +47-90145563